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Pay Costs

Volume 407: debated on Wednesday 18 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 7 March 2003, Official Report, columns 1273–74W, on staff numbers, what the total pay costs incurred by the (a) Medical Devices Agency, (b) Meat Hygiene Service and (c) Medicines Control Agency were in each year since 1997. [113378]

The Government are committed to legislating as soon as possible to give transsexual people their Convention rights. We aim to publish a draft Bill later this Session with substantive legislation Following when parliamentary time allows. The draft Bill will give legal recognition in their acquired gender to transsexual people who can demonstrate that they have taken decisive steps towards living fully and permanently in the gender acquired since they were registered at birth.Changing legal identity is a serious step, with significant consequences. It is important that no one should embark upon formal recognition in the acquired gender without convincing evidence. We will therefore propose that applications should be scrutinised by an authorising body, given legal powers to assess medical evidence before the transsexual person is allowed to register in the new gender. In some cases, where the person undertook gender reassignment years earlier, and has lived successfully in the acquired gender, that assessment may be straightforward. In other cases, the authorising body will need to be assured that, in addition to meeting medical criteria, the transsexual person has lived successfully in the acquired gender for at least two years. The medical criteria may include medical treatments to modify the person's sexual characteristics, but the Government will not require surgery as a condition of registration in the acquired gender.